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Another Big Bang of Science: Fireworks!

Is there a better way to explore science and chemistry than by dissecting the bangs, explosions and flashes of fireworks? Get ready for your Fourth of July celebration after you watch the video below from the Royal Institute at the University of Cambridge, England. Professor Chris Bishop walks you through hands-on demonstrations about the hows and whys of firework science.

Learn how an ancient Chinese recipe that included honey led to the development of gunpowder; discover how the loud bangs of fireworks have their beginnings in photography; and find out how an accident in a nineteenth-century kitchen sparked a new chemistry for modern firework making. You’ll get to see smoke and fire and even see things disappear. Be ready this year when your children ask “How did that do that?”

Watch this Science Matters Report: “How Fireworks Work” from WCVE Public Radio’s John Ogle.

Check out these other interesting websites about the Science of Fireworks:

Royal Institute Channel for more information covered in the video.

How Stuff Works and a chart for what chemicals produce what colors at Geology.com

Popular Mechanics “How fireworks are made”

PBS' NOVA has a website with interactive games and videos about fireworks.

MSN BC “Technology and Science of Fireworks”

You can even learn how to make fireworks in a glass at About.com.Chemistry

Article by: Debbie Mickle, Science Matters Project Manager